Look Up

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Concealed in the sameness
the faded blue suit
Clark Kent by day
Who cares, who cares to look?

But out there
when darkness falls
it’s kite-flying breathtaking riddles
out of dayshadows, an infinite teasing
of zetetic minds
unphysics exploding:

The Universe
ultimate mystery man.

Evocation of Art

‘Anti-mimesis is a philosophical position that holds the direct opposite of mimesis. Its most notable proponent is Oscar Wilde, who opined in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying that, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”. In the essay, written as a Platonic dialogue, Wilde holds that anti-mimesis “results not merely from Life’s imitative instinct, but from the fact that the self-conscious aim of Life is to find expression, and that Art offers it certain beautiful forms through which it may realise that energy.”.

What is found in life and nature is not what is really there, but is that which artists have taught people to find there, through art. As in an example posited by Wilde, although there has been fog in London for centuries, one notices the beauty and wonder of the fog because “poets and painters have taught the loveliness of such effects…They did not exist till Art had invented them.” ‘                                 Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_imitating_art

 

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Nature creates art in the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver

I don’t agree with Mr Wilde; surely the fact that artists painted the fog is because they saw its beauty in life, and thus art imitated life in this case (chicken vs egg). But I concede that art provides us ways of seeing and appreciating life from a number of different perspectives which we may not otherwise notice.

A Week in Reflection

bb-wirThere was a time, when I was much younger, when I was afraid to fly.

No more.

I’m not sure why the change, but since a few decades ago, no longer do I sit white-knuckled in the belly of those big mechanical birds as they defy gravity. Perhaps it’s something to do with my attitude to death. I’m no nihilist, but I don’t necessarily view death in a negative light. My death, that is. The death of others is quite another matter.

The morning after MH17 was shot down, I flew long-haul. I thought not of plane crashes but of the shocking consequences of war, its terrible futility and the immense trauma and devastation that it invariably causes to human lives; of those people left behind, forever suffering the reality of the obliteration of their loved ones. And how this suffering so often leads to an ongoing cycle of violence.

In my hotel room, on the BBC News channel, night after night, images of the crash site alternated with sickening images of Gaza. How to make sense of the human that strolls casually amongst the mutilated dead, picking through aircraft wreckage and strewn personal belongings as if he were evaluating fruit at the local market. And of the human that bombs sleeping children as if crop-spraying pests. How do we get to this?

A week later, on my way to Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport for my flight home, my hosts, who insisted on accompanying me in the taxi to the airport, chatted with the taxi-driver in Vietnamese. I heard the word “Malaysia” and asked if they were talking about plane crashes. They were. And they expressed their alarm that there had been three in one week. I thanked them for their tact, and we all laughed.

Once boarded, I started reading The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh, and thoughts of the taxi conversation were forgotten as the book caused me to reflect on how human memory and the subconscious mind work both for and against us in life: the need for revenge versus the need for peace; how we dehumanize “the other side” to make ourselves feel better about what we do and about humanity as a whole; and how memories play a role in our undoing.

Eventually I slept but was bedeviled by catastrophic dreams – we ditched in the South China Sea, a flotilla of boats waiting to rescue us; we made an emergency landing in a busy city street, the fuel-laden left wing barely missing an advertising bollard; I rescued long-dead loved ones from a burning wreckage in a field of sunflowers..
.. the subconscious mind doing its best to exert control over that over which we have little.

Despite our best efforts, accidents happen; death happens.

But war does not just happen; it is made by humans, the likes of you and me.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

We’ve had this one before, and I am studying for an exam, so a re-post this week. For more entries to this week’s WPC, see The Daily Post.

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Between

is the breath between
life and death
,
the laughter between
the light and hereafter
,
the whispers
between love and fractures.

Between
the glass reflections
float words consequential,
some, kind, reverential,
others, profane and mean,
drifting down, unseen,

on matchstick people
and their matchbox lives

us

breathing it in
like asbestos

Take care
with the words
between

——–bb

Weekly Photo Challenge: The World Through My Eyes

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A long time ago I had an unpleasant experience which precipitated a few changes in direction, the most curious of which was in my reading tastes: almost overnight, a previously voracious appetite for serial-killer fiction evaporated and, in general, I no longer enjoyed reading fiction much at all. I’ve never worked out why–life is a strange journey. However, recently, I’ve had to read a lot of children’s literature for an elective study, and am surprised at how much enjoyment I’m getting from reading young adult fiction, in particular. And how much I’ve learnt from it–
about the world, about myself
.

What we see in the world has the power to change what we read. And what we read has the power to change the way we see the world and ourselves.

How marvellous.

What have you read recently that has changed the way you see yourself?

See The Daily Post for more entries to this week’s photo challenge.